Motherhood, two years in.

Chris and I saw the movie Boyhood earlier this summer. If you haven't seen it, I really suggest watching it - especially if you're parenting a son these days. It's a beautiful story, finely executed and, of course, it made me anxious about raising a son, the trials and tribulations that await him as he grows into the man he is meant to be.

But the moments that made me anxious weren't what affected me the most. No, those moments just confirmed for me what I know is coming: I will not be able to protect my son from the journey that awaits him.

What affected me the most was a scene involving his mother, depicted by Patricia Arquette. As her son is packing his boxes for college, this strong character breaks down at her kitchen table. I just thought there would be more, she sobs.

I think she's talking about what it means for her last child to leave the house, to no longer be married, to be free of the familiar duties that were ground into her during the child-rearing years. The bottom drops out and she faces the next phase of life as a woman. Which is... WHAT, exactly?

I watched that scene and I cried because I felt her pain and confusion, but something inside me steeled itself as well during those moments. My life, while incredibly enriched by my husband and my child, remains my life. And I see these intense child-rearing years as a phase in my life, certainly the beginning of a new type of life as a mother, but certainly I feel there will be more for me after my children are grown. Of course I do.

I've been watching and reading lots from Elizabeth Gilbert lately and one of the things that most strikes me is her assertion that women have had SO many fewer years (and role models) for the hero's journey as compared to men. Dudes have been having hero journeys for centuries. Women's history reveals a much, much shorter list of names to inspire ourselves from.

And so on my son's second birthday, here is what I want to say to him:

My darling, my sweet light, Noah. I feel 1000% lucky to be your mama. I love guiding you through life and everything that entails. And, as you have an entire life journey ahead of you, I'm only 33 years through mine! So our paths will continue on together for a while yet, but at a certain point it will be natural for you to find your own way... and it will be natural for me to find new twists and turns as well. I hope that modeling that a woman has a hero's journey too will inspire you and shape your understanding of what's possible for all of the women in your life.

 There's more, ladies. There's always more, no matter what.

Happy birthday to our dear boy. xo